Poetry

Poetry

St. Lazarus

He knit him self up, a cable-stitch of skin.
Pushed his left eye in its socket, then his right.
Cracked the knuckles in his fingers (now so thin!).
Raised him self from the dirt and stood up right.

Lazarus, Lazarus, don’t get dizzy.
Lazarus, Lazarus, now get busy.
Mary’s weeping, Martha’s made a cake,
Jesus is calling at the graveyard gate.
Your closest cousin, happy you are dead,
Eyes Martha’s sheep and Mary’s empty bed.

He licks his lips and wags his muscled tongue.
Flexes each foot till the warm blood comes.
Turns from the darkness and moves toward the sun.
A step. A shamble. A dead-out run.

Biblical, post-Holocaust question #5

Oh, Moses, on Mount Nebo
If you’d seen Israel flow

Rupture, profusely bleed
And coagulate through centuries,

If you’d seen beyond the great sea
Into the bowels of Europe,

What would you have told
God at the end?





Biblical, post-Holocaust question #7

Noah’s gaunt, wet face,
      A survivor’s cheekbone trail:
Tears of joy or dearth?

Funnels made of silk

It’s fall and the grass spiders, the funnel weavers,
have entered the house.
Last year the shower of Leonids,
now, daughter, you in my arms.

Yesterday, after last rites, my husband helped
find a casket for a three-year-old.
Today he took communion
to a boy in the hospital.
The body and blood now sit in a box
on our kitchen counter.

After the nebulizer has freed the chambers
of your lungs, I carry you to your room.
Another yellow snail has died in your aquarium.
My fingers cradle its lightness,
toss it in the garbage.

Once in bed, you sleep the sleep of danger,
breath clicking upon itself.
Get behind me! I whisper you to say.

The grass spider wants dark corners,
even with four sets of eyes.
Between the bricks and door frame waits
a funnel made of silk.







On silence

The eleventh degree of humility is concerned with the manner of speech . . .”
                 Chapter 7, St. Benedict’s Rule

Speak little, speak low,
new truths I do not know,

I the she who’s ever
talking, always and not ever

listening for the quiet voice
teaching me that choice

isn’t to obey my silly heart.
Now only do I start

to hear Your blessed name
pattered by the rain,

sung by the rising sun,
uttered as I run

with each breathing cell
of my soul’s singing shell,

these limbs I love
by which I move

closer, close to You.
The body speaks true:

what my tongue wants most
the silence of the host.